Smiles, unicorns, softball: Young shooting victims recalled

Jun 2, 2022, 9:38 AM | Updated: 8:57 pm
Esmeralda Bravo, 63, sheds tears while holding a photo of her granddaughter, Nevaeh, one of the Rob...

Esmeralda Bravo, 63, sheds tears while holding a photo of her granddaughter, Nevaeh, one of the Robb Elementary School shooting victims, during a prayer vigil in Uvalde, Texas, May 25, 2022. The children who survived the attack, which killed 19 schoolchildren and two teachers, described a festive, end-of-the-school-year day that quickly turned to terror.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

UVALDE, Texas (AP) — One girl made other people smile. Another was a creative child who loved mermaids, unicorns and the color purple. A third loved playing softball and worked on her batting swing in her front yard.

The families of Nevaeh Bravo, Maranda Mathis and Eliahna Torres were holding funerals for them Thursday, part of more than two weeks of mourning for the 19 children and two teachers who were the victims of a May 24 mass shooting inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

Nevaeh Bravo

A cousin told The Washington Post that the 10-year-old “put a smile on everyone’s faces” and described her death as “a nightmare that we cannot wake up from.”

She and another 10-year-old who was killed, Jailah Silguero, were friends, and an aunt described them in a Facebook posting as “Our Angels.” A cousin told USA Today that the two girls were caring, loving and supportive of their siblings. Both families had their funerals at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, with Jailah’s set for Friday.

The aunt noted that Nevaeh’s first name is heaven spelled backward.

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Maranda Mathis

Her family said in an obituary on the funeral home’s website that the 11-year-old “had a huge loving heart” and described her as sweet, smart and “a shy tom boy” who enjoyed spending time outdoors. She had a great imagination and often expressed love for unicorns and mermaids, especially if they were her favorite color, purple, the family said.

Her mother told The New York Times that while Maranda was shy when she started school, she opened up and made friends as the year continued. She was a creative girl who loved music, running on school field days, swimming in the river and showing her mother rocks she found.

A friend of Maranda’s mother told The Washington Post she was “fun,” “spunky” and “very smart.”

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Eliahna Torres

The 10-year-old had “the most beautiful smile that could light up your soul,” her family said in her obituary on the funeral home’s website.

“She was a loving and compassionate person who loved to be silly,” the obituary said. “Eliahna was a master of jests and loved making people laugh.”

Her family said she would spend hours watching TikTok videos, but she’d found a new passion — softball. She was hoping to make an all-star roster.

She worked to improve her hitting, practicing her swing with a ball hung in her front yard by her grandfather outside the home she shared with her mother, aunt and grandparents, The New York Times reported. She responded to calls for her to come in for bed with, “One more.”

Her family jokingly called her “enfermerita,” or the little nurse. Her grandfather told The Times that after he had heart surgery a few years ago, Eliahna accompanied him on his doctor-prescribed walks, helping him to scoop up pecans that fell from the trees shading their neighborhood. She made sure her grandparents took their medications.

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More on the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas: https://apnews.com/hub/uvalde-school-shooting

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This version corrects the spelling of Nevaeh in all instances.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Smiles, unicorns, softball: Young shooting victims recalled